Kyoukai no Kanata – Episode 3

So I guess there are a lot of tragic backstories to go around. Akihito with his hands all bloodied up, Mirai with her murderings… life ain’t easy in this neighborhood. I’m hopeful the story continues to press forward at this pace – I think the first two episodes did a great job of setting up the central world and cast, and I’d hate to see a Free-like situation where one single thread of drama gets dragged out over twelve episodes. Granted, we already have much more going on than Free’s narrative ever did – we’ve got two separate lines of tragic backstory, we’ve got the romantic drama surrounding the central cast, we’ve got Mitsuki’s warnings about Mirai (which may just be related to Mirai’s past, granted), and we’ve got literal dark clouds on the horizon. So yeah, I think we’ve got a solid stew brewing. Let’s see what bubbles to the surface today.

Episode 3

0:00 – Man, just typing that made me remember that just a month ago, I’d be queuing up Free right now. A terrifying thought.

0:22 – That’s right. All my KyoAni shows require a specific density of moe sadsacks 


1:55 – Still loving this OP.  Last season was really the Season of the OP, but this one tells a neat little story and has great music-visual beats throughout, while still doing the usual character-introducing stuff an OP’s meant for. Kinda reminds me of the second Hyouka one in that way

2:20 – These creature designs are all so great.  All distinctive and otherworldly and intelligent-seeming, not really like animals at all

2:42 – Cute things? KyoAni’s got you covered 

3:12 – Ah, the classic “pensively spying from a tree” maneuver.  C’mon KyoAni, you should be above stuff like that


3:47 – That’s an interesting definition .

4:24 – Hmmm.  KyoAni aren’t normally ones for thematic depth (they normally make character stories, with what themes there may be emerging naturally from the emotional problems of the characters), but this could actually be going somewhere. Youmus being a reflection of people’s nature, those humanoid youmu we met last episode… we’ll see

Crazy youmu in the background, by the way

4:54 – Okay, so they are going somewhere with this , and it’ll tie in with their youmu friends and Mirai’s hesitance to kill. Gotcha

5:12 – So of course we immediately check in with our cute little youmu.  Looks like they’re fast-tracking this one

5:41 – I mean yeah, KyoAni are really good at what they do.  I’m not made of stone, I just need more to a show than just this


7:50 – Really liking the dialogue between these two.  KyoAni’s usual male-male rapport (well, outside of Free, but those were closer to the BL girls-in-big-male-body archetypes anyway) is much less give-and-take (since they normally do the cynical MC/goofball best friend combo), but these guys talk like people who would actually be friends

8:24 – I also like how this mirror’s Akihito’s relationship with Hiromi’s sister.  Which kind of points to why that relationship is a non-starter from Akihito’s perspective – she’s like a brother to him

9:09 – Hey look, banter!  Jeez KyoAni, keep this up and you’ll have me thinking you’ve hired a writer!

Yeah, these three are all great. Mirai better get her shit together

9:55 – Have a background 


9:59 – Have another 

10:41 – Man I hate this position.  I don’t know if they’ll actually do more than just use this disconnect in desires as fuel for their standard banter, but both of their spots here are pretty uncomfortable

12:34 – There’s just something so menacing about telephone wires 

12:59 – I also find these mid-distance profile shots really evocative , though I honestly can’t really articulate why


13:02 – Fantastic.  Fears completely assuaged – they’ve raised and answered this mystery within a single episode, along with using the hook of the big youmu from last episode immediately as well. Things are moving!

16:44 – And continuing to slam through the drama.  Not much to say – standard beats, but they’re landing pretty well. I’m mainly just happy they’re getting through this routine “I’m a demon/outsider, sins I’ve committed, trying to atone through more-or-less suicide” arc so quickly, since it means they’ll be developing the characters and relationships in further ways beyond it

18:34 – More backgrounds.  I really like the kinda offhand way they’re showing off all the different articulations of these demon-hunter powers. An evocative world is a good hand of cards – don’t give them all away at once

19:42 – Aw yiss time for action 


20:39 – Here’s one of those KyoAni character moments.  I particularly like him slamming the microwave and having it bounce back – that feels like such a universal moment, where the absurd conflict of this giant black demon monster possibly swallowing the suicidal girl he has a crush on is suddenly made relatable through its grounding in his everyday expression of anger and powerlessness, his own inability to do anything taken out on the microwave. It seems small, but it’s these little moments of recognition and subtle humanity that sell all the big things

21:00 – What the fuck is that thing? 

And Done

Ahaha, well there’s a thrilling finale. Man. This show gets pretty over-the-top, but it’s selling it well. Akihito braves the storm of a black death cloud to counter Mirai’s argument, and what does he have? “No, you don’t get it!” Aw man.

That was a very fun episode overall. I’m pleased with how this show is shaping up, and though it’s not going Hyouka-sharp, it’s definitely working – like Chuunibyou, this is looking to be just a very strongly executed genre piece, relying on KyoAni’s strong animation, aesthetic, direction, and control of storytelling to elevate it. Which can certainly work – nobody does “artistic professionalism” like KyoAni does. I’m enjoying the world, I’m very happy that they’re so quickly resolving this first emotional/narrative hurdle (one of the things that makes a show like this hard to do episodics for is that KyoAni have such a strong understanding of how beats should land, like the way they’re entwining Mirai’s first emotional arc, the world’s first action climax, and the first checkpoint of the Mirai/Akihito relationship), and the show is just fun to watch minute to minute. Bring on the next one.

2 thoughts on “Kyoukai no Kanata – Episode 3

  1. Could you stop bashing Free every chance you get? Its poor taste man. If you didnt like it then fine, but leave it alone for those of us that did.

    • Please don’t take my jabs personally. I take jabs at a lot of shows, even the ones I like, and the unwritten asterisk after everything I say should lead to a footnote that reads “in my personal, flawed, almost certainly bitter, and clearly sexually impotent opinion.” I’m currently mad at Free mainly because of my own insane decision to do comedy writeups for it – I disliked the show, and I don’t want to censor my own art opinions, but I have absolutely nothing against people who enjoyed it.

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